HMRC seeks to fingerprint suspects

HM Revenue & Customs is seeking to significantly widen its powers to
include the right to digitally fingerprint suspects.

In a new consultation document, Criminal Investigation Powers: A
Technical Consultation Document
, the HMRC said the power to use new
technologies such as digital fingerprint readers would significantly help the
authority with its investigations.

According to the report, such technology could reduce the time it takes to
verify a suspects’ identity from 30-45 minutes to just three minutes.

‘This power will be available in any place and so will enable fingerprints to
be taken other than in a police station. The power will be used to confirm the
identity of a suspect by checking these fingerprints against records in existing
databases,’ HMRC.
It said fingerprints taken for these purposes would be destroyed as soon as they
have been used, and not retained.

The Revenue is also asking for powers to charge or bail suspects.

HMRC’s attempts to extend its powers come in the wake of wider support to
view tax crime as a crime like any other. It is seeking to increasingly treat
tax avoidance as a crime that should be investigated in the same way as any

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